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Nevada Gov. Sisolak to give first State of the State speech

Updated January 15, 2019 - 8:09 pm

CARSON CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak will focus heavily on education, health care and jobs when he delivers his first State of the State address Wednesday night before the Nevada Legislature in Carson City.

The speech for Sisolak, who became the first Democratic governor in Nevada in two decades when he was sworn in last week, will set help set the tone for his administration and lay out his priorities for the state as the Legislature prepares to convene next month.

“Gov. Sisolak’s State of the State outlines his main priority: making sure that Nevada’s recent economic success begins to reach every Nevadan in every ZIP code — not just those at the top,” Sisolak’s Chief of Staff Michelle White said Tuesday.

The former Clark County commissioner will propose increases in funding for both education and health care as well as new programs in both sectors, but won’t be proposing any new taxes, his administration said..

“I think he’s going to hit the same tones as his inaugural speech, which certainly complimented the accomplishments of Governor Sandoval, but also tried to set out Democratic priorities,” said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at University of Nevada, Reno.

The focus for Sisolak’s first State of the State address will be in line with key platforms he raised on the campaign trail and were emphasized further last week in his inaugural address.

“First things first: we’ve got to get our education system back on track — because we know that’s the bedrock of a thriving economy… and the pathway to a better life for our families,” Sisolak said last week.

During the campaign, he spoke of his desire to increase education funding to raise teachers’ salaries and reduce class sizes. Sisolak also has said he wants to reduce the red tape that hinders private businesses or individuals from providing financial help to schools for certain programs or projects, such as “adopting” a school or naming a gymnasium.

The governor also said that “we must address one of our biggest financial burdens: health care,” if Nevada is “serious about improving” its economy.

In October, Sisolak proposed a plan to create a Patient Protection Commission that would be made up of patients, doctors, health care providers and policymakers. He envisions the body working to create legislative recommendations that would improve access and help rein in the rising costs of health care.

Sisolak said after the election the tougher gun laws would be one of his top priorities as he headed into office, and the governor is expected to address the 2016 firearm background check initiative, which a court has ruled is not enforceable in its current form.

He is also expected to touch on the revenue from the special 10 percent recreational marijuana tax that goes into the state’s rainy day fund and detail some of his other budget priorities.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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